Biometrics in Healthcare
We hear all the time about the mistakes that are made within our healthcare system these days. Records are mixed up, medical charts are confused, the wrong medication is given to the wrong patient. Someone who shouldn’t get their hands on your medical information does. There is a desperate race going on to find the best method of securing your data and preventing mistakes with consequences that range from embarrassing to deadly.
Finally, a solution has been found. Biometrics has revolutionized the healthcare security industry. Biometrics is the study and analysis of biological data. Devices can take unique information about you from your eye, or your hand print, or your thumb print and use it to identify you. This information can be used to ensure that you are who you say you are, and you have permission to be working with the healthcare information you are trying to access.
Privacy in healthcare is a huge issue in these days, especially given the fact that most computer networks are vulnerable to attack or intrusion. The HIPAA act in the United States [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act], and many such laws worldwide, guarantee a patient‘s privacy. Biometrics is making it possible for patients and healthcare professionals both to feel secure that their information is being kept confidential and only being released to those who have the right to see it.
As of April 2009, it is now required in the United States that physicians and healthcare professionals who use electronic records track every time a patient’s record is accessed. Biometrics allows the physician to do this easily. By making the records only accessible to someone who is identified via hand/thumb/iris print, a record can be kept of who accessed the files and when, and it can be ensured that the person who accessed the file is definitely who they say they are and has the right to see a patient‘s records. If they do not, the appropriate authorities can be notified that someone without authorization is trying to access secure data.
In this day and age of the almost instant exchange of electronic information, it would be nice to be able to send a patient‘s record from their doctor on one side of the country to the other, where they’ve just moved, and feel that the data was securely sent without chance of interception. Again, biometrics can be used at both sides of such a transfer to make sure that the only people who see it are the healthcare professionals to whom authorization has been given.
Aside from the problem of the privacy of your electronic healthcare records, there is the separate, yet equally important issue of making sure of the identity of a patient. Getting a patient’s chart confused with another’s can be deadly if the wrong medication is given, or if a diagnosis is mixed up because the physician is looking at the wrong information. Biometrics gives a way to match a patient with the medical chart with no possibility of error. It can be ensured that you do not get to medication meant for the patient in the next bed, to which you have a severe allergy. Even the persistent problem of sending a baby home with the wrong mother can be eliminated if the baby’s and mother’s physical characteristics can be matched with certainty.
In this struggling economy, those in the healthcare industry have realized that the money needed to invest in biometric technology is outweighed by the money they will lose to fraud, fraud prevention and the consequences of mistakes that could have been prevented if they were using the technology. They are jumping on the biometric bandwagon in droves. This is a fast growing industry, and it’s changing the look of healthcare security rapidly.
Daily, our sensitive biometrics healthcare data grows more secure, and we have provided you (below) with the world-leading technology providers in this field to ensure that fewer and fewer tragic and preventable accidents happen in your hospital: